a hammer as if to strike, the great wooden arm was erected as
a symbol of the workingmen whom an early Newark merchant named
William M. Smith sought to attract. Smith had a mechanic' clothes
shop in a gray, four-story building at 474 Broad Street, now occupied
by the Essex Desk Co.
The arm was carved by a skilled woodworker named Henry Higginson,
Sr., who lived at Greenwood Lake and was a cousin of Smith. It
is a right arm and measures 34 inches at the bicep. The years
have bleached a pale white, but originally it was a healthy blacksmith
In 1903 the
arm was moved to the building at No. 498. For the first 22 years,
it was on the Bridge Street side, and since then on the Broad
Street side of the building.
years it was selling work clothes, most recently for the Katzin
had our eye on that arm for 29 years years," a museum staff
member said. "Thenthe other day the owner said we could have
it. We were very pleased."
is Harry W. Smith of 55 Crane Street, Caldwell, a descendent of
the founder of the shop until it's sale to Katzin's in 1933. Smith
retained to the bulging arm, and when storms damaged the great
elbow, he had a cabinet maker repair it.
It will be
added to the museum's collection of American folk sculpture, the
best known item of which is the elegant red-jacketed "Captain
Jinks of the Horse Marines," almost a trade mark of the Junior
Museum. Captain Jinks has no biceps at all.
Scupture is described by museum experts as a true and indigenuos
expression of the American artisitc sense becuase of its very
absence of pretense and importance. In other words, the people
who carved the cigar store indians, Captain Jinks and the Arm
With Hammer weren't trying to imitate great European masters,
as a lot of early American painters were.
fashioning articles for practical uses, museum officials explained.